GOP earns House victory in Minnesota

GOP earns House victory in Minnesota
© Courtesy of Jim Hagedorn

For Republican Jim Hagedorn, the fourth time was the charm.

Hagedorn, a former Treasury Department official, defeated Democrat Dan Feehan in Minnesota's 1st District on Tuesday to replace outgoing Rep. Tim WalzTimothy (Tim) James WalzGovernors helping governors Minnesota New Members 2019 GOP earns House victory in Minnesota MORE (D), securing a rare pickup for the Republicans in a cycle when they’ve been largely forced to defend their own vulnerable seats.

Hagedorn — whose father, Thomas Hagedorn, once represented Minnesota’s 2nd District in Congress — had run unsuccessfully for the House in 2010, 2014 and 2016. The latter two races were losses to Walz, the highest-ranking enlisted soldier in congressional history, who vacated the seat after six terms to run for governor.

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Feehan was among the host of Democratic military veterans running for Congress for the first time this year, having served two terms in Iraq and earning a Bronze Star in the process. Taking a page from Walz’s successful playbook, Feehan featured his military service on the campaign trail, hoping the message would resonate in a district that’s home to 40,000 veterans.

Yet Jim Hagedorn argued that Feehan was simply too liberal for the district, a largely rural area that stretches from South Dakota to Wisconsin along the state’s entire southern border. He pointed to Feehan’s positions on immigration, abortion and guns as being out of touch with district voters, vowing to stick with the hard-line conservative script championed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: WHCA picking non-comedian for headliner a 'good first step' Five takeaways from Mississippi's Senate debate Watergate’s John Dean: Nixon would tell Trump 'he's going too far' MORE.

Hagedorn had the wind at his back: Although former President Obama won the district in both 2008 and 2012, Trump reversed the trend in striking fashion two years ago, defeating Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWatergate’s John Dean: Nixon would tell Trump 'he's going too far' Senate Homeland Security chairman requests briefing on Ivanka Trump emails House GOP to hold hearing into DOJ’s probe of Clinton Foundation MORE, the Democratic nominee, by a 15-point margin. Heading into Tuesday, the district was the only Democratic seat rated a “toss-up” by the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper.